Last night, I had a date with one cool chick. My friend Elinor took me to an incredible vegan restaurant in Somerville, MA called True Bistro. Anyone who thinks vegan food consists mainly of bland vegetables and plain tofu needs to have a True Bistro experience to prove this misconception all wrong.
Our meal started with a bottle of vegan Pinot Noir (all wine is not vegan and you can read more here) and crusty bread dipped in olive oil. I then agonized over what to order. Do I get the grilled romaine heart salad with French lentils? The phyllo purse with seitan, quince, and roasted squash? Oooh but what about the roulade of sweet potato stuffing with porcini gravy? We made our decision and I took my camera phone out to document our experience.
We settled on first sharing the ravioli filled with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions in sherry cream. Doesn’t sound so vegan does it? Lets just say we practically licked the sauce from the dish when we were finished and nearly fought over who got the last sherry cream soaked walnuts. “You have that last bite,” Elinor said. “No really, you finish it up, Eli.” Meanwhile, we were looking at each other with forks poised, ready to go in for the kill as soon as the other showed the first sign of weakness. I got the last bite, just for the record.
Then came the main course. I had seitan piccata in a lemon and caper white wine sauce with garlic mashed potatoes and rapini (also known as broccoli rabe). Seitan is so fantastic because it has the filling consistency of meat and it fully takes on the flavors it is cooked with. Who doesn’t love piccata sauce?
Elinor had the house-made pappardelle with smoked tofu in cream sauce and of course she let me try it. Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a huge fan of tofu. I eat it, but I never love it. The smoky tofu in this dish was to die for and I actually had order-envy.
As if we hadn’t eaten enough, we went on to order not one dessert, but (hanging my head in shame) two slices of heaven: Death-by-chocolate cake with crème anglaise and crunchy caramel, which had the consistency of a yummy flourless torte, and coconut cream pie in blood orange sauce. I loved both, but the coconut cream pie did steal my heart.
Hard to believe this is all vegan isn’t it? True Bistro was created by Linda and Michael Harrison because they, for animal and environmental reasons, wanted to offer vegan diners a more upscale atmosphere. We saw them both there last night, greeting guests with a warm smile and making sure everybody was full and happy. From their statement of commitments:
-We acknowledge the intrinsic value of all life and realize that non-human animals are individuals with inherent worth, not to be exploited by humans.
–We endeavor to tread lightly on the planet and be conscious of our environmental responsibilities.
The line literally went out the door by the time we were ready to leave, so on the weekend you may just want to be an early bird to beat the rush.
I’ll close with photos of two very happy True Bistro diners.